29.03.15. Birdlog (BST)

29.03.15. Birdlog (British Summer Time)

29.03.15. Scrambler, Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A blustery walk around the muddy tracks bordering No.6 tank was interrupted several times by four scramble bikers enjoying the solitude of the marshes (bless them!).

29.03.15. Gull and Shelduck over No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The only ducks present on the choppy and exposed waters of No.6 tank were 34 Mallard and 12 Common Shelduck, everything had the sense to find shelter from the blustery westerly wind elsewhere.

29.03.15. Ravens over No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A flock of Ravens were taking advantage of the updraft from the banks of No.2 tank and were rising and tumbling for fun.

29.03.15. No.6 tank and frodsham Hill, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

No.3 tank fared little better with birds but several Shoveler, common Teal, Gadwall, Redshank and Ruff were keeping low to reduce their wind chill exposure. The sun came out during our saunter and showcased No.6 in gold and blues.

29.03.15. Butchered tree on No.4 tabk, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

We walked up to what is remaining of the reed beds on No.4 tank and the contractors were having time out when we were there. It gave me the opportunity in getting some images for future reference and some of which are included below.

29.03.15. Destruction of No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (6)

29.03.15. Destruction of No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (7)29.03.15. Destruction of No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)29.03.15. Destruction of No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)29.03.15. Destruction of No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)29.03.15. Destruction of No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)https://twitter.com/FrodshamBirder


28.03.15. Birdlog

28.03.15. Birdlog

28.03.15. Whooper Swans, Ince Marsh fields, Paul Ralston (1)

28.03.15. 3 Little Egrets, Ince Marsh fields, Paul Ralston

Out this morning before the rain came and a short walk from Ince Berth and along the Holpool Gutter. A couple of hundred Curlew in the fields near the berth and a small party of 20 Black-tailed Godwit overhead. On the Manchester Ship Canal were Mallard, Gadwell, Coot and a single Great Crested Grebe with many Shelduck on the bank. 3 Little Egret flew east along the canal and a Chiffchaff was calling in the hawthorn bushes. A flock of Redshank were spooked by a low flying Common Buzzard and were joined by several Oystercatcher calling as they went.

28.03.15. Whooper Swans, Ince Marsh fields, Paul Ralston (2)

The only other raptors seen were a pair of copulating Kestrel seen along the canal path. The swan herd held 13 Whooper and 30 plus Mute with more Curlew feeding amongst them.  A Green Sandpiper was on the gutter as was another Chiffchaff.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-2).

28.03.15. Ringed Plovers, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Later in the afternoon I paid a visit to the marsh after Frank had heard a Cetti’s Warbler singing at a known site. I walked up to the mitigation area on No.3 tank where there were 3 Ruff, 2 Ringed Plover, 3 Redshank and a pair of Lapwing. 2 Gadwall, 24 Common Teal, 3 pairs of Shoveler and 4 Common Shelduck.

28.03.15. Ruff, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A couple of singing Skylark were high above No.5 tank while just below on No.6 tank had 124 Common Teal, 14 Tufted Duck, 23 Mallard, 12 Common Shelduck and 4 Mute Swan.

28.03.15. Ruff and Lapwing, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

A small flock of Redshank contained 2 additional Ruff from the birds already mentioned.

Observer: WSM (images 4-6).



27.03.15. Birdlog

27.03.15. Birdlog

27.03.15. Gulls, Gantry Wall, Weston Point. Bill Morton (1)

An evening walk along the Weaver Causeway to see what was messing about on the river. The water was flat calm and again enabled some good views right up to the Weaver Sluice Gates. 9 Goldeneye included 4 males in head tossing display. 143 Tufted Duck ranged from the sluices all away across to the Weaver Bend. Many Gadwall were here with the occasional Common Teal, 10 Little and 3 Great Crested Grebe.

27.03.15. Goldeneyes, Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

27.03.15. White Goose and Canada Geese, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonWe continued the walk back pausing only to have a gander at the white goose that has spent the last three winters on the score and which tonight enjoyed the company of two Canada’s on the River Weaver. Continuing the walk past the birdless Redwall reed bed, along Alder Lane to Marsh Farm. The fields of No’s 1 & 2 were pierced by the bleating cries of lambs and punctuated by the occasional call of a Meadow Pipit moving through.

Song Thrush singing video: https://vimeo.com/123500790

27.03.15. Gulls on the Gantry wall. Bill Morton

27.03.15. Shelduck and Acid Works, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonLooking out from the farm to the Mersey estuary was in brilliant light and without the usual disadvantage of heat haze we could watch right across to Pickerings Pasture. 340 Redshank were moving about in loose flocks. Both Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit were in similar numbers with small groups or pairs of Oystercatcher. Hundreds of Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls were on the Gantry Wall bordering the river and the Manchester Ship Canal.

Plenty of Chiffchaffs tonight along the lanes.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).

25.03.15. Birdlog

25.03.15. Birdlog

25.03.15. Common Snipe, No.3 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A Cetti’s Warbler seen and heard giving ‘quiet GS Woodpecker’ type calls by the green box (Birdlog) on the telegraph pole en route to No.1 tank. No song – female? Lots of singing male Chiffchaff on the move – low double figures south bank of No.6 tank and along Half Furlong Lane.

Observer: Pete Marsh.

I had a walk along Moorditch Lane. There were at least 6 Chiffchaff (4 singing, 2 calling), a Skylark singing north of the lane, 8 Meadow Pipit over and 1 singing on No.6 tank.
The main pool is interesting – if you look at it for ages the birds on there hardly change but the minute you turn your back something else arrives or something goes!  So on the pool at dawn were 24 Mute Swan but only 4 when I did the walk, the only waders at dawn were a handful of Lapwing but when I wasn’t looking 25 Knot appeared.  A Ringed Plover called (and 2 were seen in flight over No.6 tank on the 24th).  There were 10 Tufted Duck (only 3 females), 69 Teal, 12 Mallard (40 the previous day), 1 Shelduck and a Grey Heron.  11 Common Gull lounged on the edge of the pool.
Continuing along the lane there was a little flock of 5 Goldfinch, 2 Chaffinch were singing, 5 Reed Bunting calling, 2 Dunnock being frisky, 3 Magpie chattering and a Blackbird feeding.  6 Raven overhead were interacting.
I found a little pond in the NE corner of No.6 tank which I hadn’t seen before.  There was a Little Grebe, 2 Coot and a male Gadwall.  A Buzzard flew over. (Later in the morning there were at least 8 Buzzard thermalling over No.6 tank, one of which was the pale one that does a good imitation of a Rough-legged Buzzard except it doesn’t have black tail band.  The latter went very high and headed off NE, the others stayed over the area for hours).
The female Merlin zipped about spooking small birds on no.6 tank.
As a reminder that it was still winter for some species, 2 Fieldfare flew off from the remnants of the hedge. On the way back were reminders that spring has arrived as a couple of queen bumble bees emerged from the grass on the bank and a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was seen.
Observer: Jean Roberts.

25.03.15. Raven, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

I bumped into Arthur after work and we walked along the track above No.6 tank where there were low numbers of ducks which included: 17 Tufted Duck, 12 Common Shelduck, 68 Common Teal and 8 Shoveler.

No.3 tank was low key with the Canada Goose herd still including Barnacle (Bill) Goose and his partner the ‘Princess Fiona’ hybrid goose. On the scrape pools were 12 Common Teal, 6 Shoveler, 1 Ruff, 3 Redshank and 7 Common Snipe.

The usual assortment of corvids included the ever-present Ravens.

Observers; Arthur Harrison, WSM (and images).

24.03.15. Birdlog

24.03.15. Birdlog

24.03.15. Golden Plovers, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

After a lovely walk around Blakemere this afternoon it was the turn of Frodsham Marsh on the tail end of the 9.6 tide out on the River Mersey.

24.03.15. Golden Plovers, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

240 Golden Plover were joined by 560 Dunlin, a single Black-tailed Godwit and a scattering of Lapwing. 16 Tufted Duck, 54 Common Teal, 6 Gadwall and 7 Common Shelduck was the result of that tides exodus from the river. Another big flock of Goldies dropped into the fields by Marsh Farm but time restraints meant we couldn’t follow their count up.

24.03.15. Carrion crow, Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A photogenic Carrion Crow was in the horse paddock alongside Moorditch Lane.

24.03.15. White Wagtail, Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonNo.3 tank and the shallow scrapes held a few Common Teal and 3 Ruff.

The Blue-topped chimney supported the mighty Peregrine for a while before she powered off to find supper.

The horse paddock by Moorditch Lane held onto a few lingering Redwing, while a White Wagtail was fresh in.

And finally…they said it wouldn’t last, but both Barnacle (Bill) Goose  and Greylag (Princess Fiona) X Canada Goose are still an item, being seen stepping out on No.3 tank with their Canada Goose chaperones this evening.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).



23.03.15. Birdlog

23.03.15. Birdlog

I spent a few hours this morning on the marsh with the following sightings:

23.03.15. Whooper Swans, Ince Marsh fields, Greg BakerStarted off at the Weaver Bend where a overflying police helicopter pushed most of the birds onto the Weaver Estuary.  Counts included 102 Tufted Duck, 18 Shelduck, single drakes of Goldeneye and Pochard and just 1 Great Crested Grebe.

23.03.15. Whooper Swans, Ince Marsh fields, Greg Baker
Next stop was Marsh Farm where a Grey Wagtail was at a small pool by the track.  Out on Frodsham Score on a rising tide 3 Avocets were feeding on the mud in the corner near where the Weaver enters the Manchester Ship Canal.  Other waders included an impressive 510 Black-tailed Godwit, 72 Oystercatcher, 22 Dunlin and 131 Curlew.  On No.6 tank, 380 Dunlin had arrived before the high tide along with 192 Golden Plover, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Ruff, 1 Redshank and 1 Black-tailed Godwit.  Wildfowl included 65 Common Teal and 2 drake Shoveler.  On the new scrapes of No.3 Tank were 2 more Ruff and another 2 Redshank.
I then drove round the south side of No.4 tank and walked out to the edge of the River Mersey along the west bank of No.4 tank.  Single Little Egret and Green Sandpiper took flight from the Holpool Gutter and 14 Whooper Swan were with 35 Mute Swan in the fields bordering the gutter and the ship canal.  Out on Ince Marshes and Frodsham Score a good high tide revealed 452 Shelduck, 290 Wigeon, 12 Gadwall, c40 Common Teal, 1 Greylag Goose, c200 Canada Geese, 1 Great Crested Grebe and just 1 Little Egret.
Around 40 Raven were on the ship canal embankment enjoying their usual mutton feast.  As I walked back to the car 32 Pink-footed Geese arrived from towards Ince and flew overhead moving south-east (surely the wrong way!).
Observer and images: Greg Baker

22.03.15. Birdlog

22.03.15. Birdlog

22.03.15. Colts Foot, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

22.03.15. Ducks on the Weaver estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The mitigation area of No.3 tank attracted 2 Ruff, 4 Common Snipe and 4 Redshank. Over on No.6 tank 40 Dunlin almost landed but moved on, there were 4 Wigeon and 6 singing Chiffchaff from various locations.

Observer: Frank Duff.


2 Wheatear on fence by Marsh Farm (Alder Lane) track.

Observers: Idris and Jacqui Roberts.

22.03.15. Grey Heron, the Lum, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

I parked up on Ship Street and decided to walk out over the motorway bridge to the I.C.I tank and the Weaver Bend. A couple of motor bike scramblers were tearing around the tank trails and then up and down the Weaver Causeway, so it made for a testing watch (although the ducks on the river were not too perturbed).

The water was flat calm and made the job of counting a lot easier with the 167 Tufted Duck, 16 Goldeneye, 12 Pochard, 12 Gadwall and 5 Great Crested Grebe noted. Most of the birds were gathered mostly on the Weaver estuary with lesser numbers on the ‘bend’.

The Lum held 6 Common Teal, a Grey Heron, a single Black-tailed Godwit and a single pair of Lapwing were doing what they do at this time of year.

A couple of bunches of Coltsfoot were in flower and a Peacock butterfly were noted today.

Observer and images: WSM.

22.03.15. Sunset over Hale Head. Bill Morton

22.03.15. Sunset over Hale Lighthouse. Bill Morton

The evening ended with a fine sunset over Hale lighthouse.



Frodsham Marsh Wind farm: No.4 tank a work in progress

No.4 tank a work in progress

20.03.15. Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill,,,

20.03.15. Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill.......20.03.15. Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill..,... No.4 tank from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton.,.20.03.15. Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill.....,.20.03.15. Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill.During the eclipse yesterday, I was situated on Helsby Hill which affords some great views across the Mersey and Weaver valleys. Although a low-level hazy mist hung over Frodsham and Helsby marshes, it still gave me the opportunity in capturing some birdseye images of the work in progress on the huge reed bed of No.4 tank. This area is one of four disused sludge tanks earmarked for wind turbines (if this information is incorrect then I will amend here at a later date). Contractors have recently started work on eradicating the huge reed beds and preparing the land for siting of the turbines. I have included some images of the site and will include others at a later date.

It is still possible to walk around No.6 tank but be aware that this is a working site and heavy plant vehicles will be accessing via Lordship Lane from Ince.

20.03.15. Birdlog

20.03.15. Birdlog


20.03.15. Goldcrest, Ince. Paul Ralston

Out this morning during the eclipse and the high tide. Curlew and small numbers of Black-tailed Godwit in the fields near the Pig Farm and a roaming flock of Long-tailed Tit with at least 6 Goldcrest. Goldfinch and Linnet feeding on the weeds along the lane and a pair of Kestrel displaying above Ince berth.

20.03.15. Little Egret on Frodsham Score, Paul Ralston

On the Manchester Ship Canal were Mallard, Tufted Duck and Gadwell kept company with the Canada Geese and Coots.

20.03.15. Grey Wagtail, Paul Ralston

The resident Grey Wagtail has now found another for company and a pair of Oystercatcher were calling on the opposite bank. As the tide came in a Peregrine flushed a flock of Golden Plover and Black-tailed Godwit. The swan herd on the fields along the Holpool Gutter was split into two groups with 40 Mute Swan and 23 Whooper with 2 Greylags in attendance. There were 3 pair of Lapwing displaying on what was once the reed bed on No.4 tank. The rookery at the Growhow works was busy with birds back and forth to the many nests in the small wood near the plant.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-4).

20.03.15. Whooper Swan, Ince Marsh fields, Bill Morton

After we set up on top of Helsby Hill to see the eclipse we could also observe the Whooper Swan and the Mute Swan herd easily in fields to the west of (the under the bulldozer that was-and more of that later) No.4 tank.

20.03.15. Little Egret by Spring Farm, Frodsham Marsh, Bill Morton

We parked up in Lower Rake Lane and walked past Spring Farm where a Little Egret flew up from the ditch and a couple of Rheas were in a small holding there.

20.03.15. Barnacle Goose and mate, Frodsham Score, Bill Morton

Walking along the meandering Holpool Gutter eventually brought us to the flooded Frodsham Score and it’s always a good sign when you approach here and see hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits and Curlews wheeling about. A barking Barnacle Goose in flight had an air of urgency about it, I can only assume it was the absence of (Princess Fiona) its hybrid Greylag X Canada companion. They were reunited later on the ebbing tide.

20.03.15. Sheep and Black-tailed Godwits, Frodsham Score. Bill Morton

Large groups of roosting Black-tailed Godwits were close to a thousand strong with similar numbers of Curlew and scattered flocks Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Knot, Dunlin and the odd Bar-tailed Godwit. Out on the tide edge were 2 Little Egret and 300 Wigeon.

20.03.15. Work by contarcators on No.4 tank, Bill Morton

20.03.15. GBBG and Ravens, Frodsham Score, Bill Morton

A power struggle was going between Ravens and Great Black-backed Gulls over the fresh corpses of lambs on the tide turn.

A Wheatear was feeding along the edge of the embankment that separates the ship canal and the score. Also noted along Lordship Lane was a Chiffchaff and a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly was on the roadway verge.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (images 5-10).



19.03.15. Birdlog

19.03.15. Birdlog

19.03.15. Ravens, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

The evening sunshine was a welcome bonus after last evening. A walk along the track on the south edge of No.5 tank and overlooking No.6 tank was again worth the effort.

19.03.15. Tufted Ducks, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The usual assembly of ducks were again present with the exception of the drake Pintail from last night. A couple of Ruff were with the small numbers of Redshank on the tank. Later these were joined by 84 Golden Plover which came into roost here.

19.03.15. Gun turret and sheep from No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)The secluded pool attracted 3 pairs of Shoveler with 8 birds present on the main pool. A Water Rail was ‘singing’ from a watery channel at the edge of the reeds.

19.03.15. Golden Plovers, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

The female Marsh Harrier was again hunting the reed beds below the banks of No.4 tank.

At dusk the Starling flocks began to move through and one took the exit left, and left in the talons of a Peregrine which flew towards Marsh Farm to find a spot to enjoy its takeaway.

19.03.15. 1st summer Cormorant, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

A couple of 1st summer Cormorant were with the usual Cormorant roost at dusk.

Observer and images: WSM.

Additional local bird info: At least two Chiffchaff singing on Runcorn Hill this morning.